Andy Laub

Andy Laub is a designer & developer in the Twin Cities.

Published Apr 09

Honda’s new Insight has been the subject of some really great advertising. First, check out this spot on Vimeo. Then have a gander at these other three.

If you were interested in seeing a video of me being awkward on television, have at it.

I briefly mentioned the bugginess of Aurora Feint: the Beginning. You should know it’s been replaced by the still-free Aurora Feint II: Lite, which is just as good and about 0% as buggy. Definitely worthy of “get” status.

On my iPhone »

By popular demand?

In the past week, two iPhoners friends with iPhones have asked me what apps I’m currently using on my iPhone. And while I’m not writing this down with the pretense that anyone will actually care, I figure it’s a thing appropriate for a blog such as this. Yes, I’ve covered this topic before, but this is a more comprehensive listing that also accounts for my tastes having since changed.

The List

I have my phone divided into four pages, plus the typical quick launch bar at the bottom (Phone/Text/Safari/Mail):

  1. Primary Apps (11 + Settings)
  2. Secondary Apps (16)
  3. Games (8)
  4. Web Shortcuts (3)

I’ve decided to include arbitrary ratings for usefulness (how good it is at what it does) and frequency (how often I use it), 5 being the highest.

Page 1 Usefulness Frequency  
AIM 4 1  
Facebook 3 2  
NetNewsWire 3 0  
Twitteriffic 5 3 Recommended
The Weather Channel 5 5 Recommended
Page 2 4 1  
CameraBag 4 3 Recommended
Delivery Status Touch 5 3 Recommended
Google 5 1  
Shazam 4 1  
What’s On? 5 4  
WhitePages Mobile 5 3 Recommended
WordPress 4 1  
Page 3
Aurora Feint: The Beginning 4 2 Recommended
Crystal Defenders Lite 1 0  
Moonlight Mahjong Lite 3 1  
SimCity 3 0  
Sol Free Solitaire 4 5 Recommended
Tangram Pro 3 1  
Topple 4 1  
Touchgrind 1 0  

I’ve already covered Twitteriffic, TWC, and WhitePages Mobile; my reasons for liking them still stand. But here’s a quick rundown of the others:

  • CameraBag is a nice little filtering app that makes the photos taken with your phone not look quite so lame. You can either shoot directly from the app itself, or edit photos after the fact. Here’s a quick example: before and after.
  • Delivery Status Touch is the best package tracking app I’ve found with support for every delivery service imaginable. As a bonus it’s updatable from the web.
  • Aurora Feint: The Beginning is a really fun game, when it works. It used to constantly throw out errors when it couldn’t talk to the server, to the point where you couldn’t even resume a game you were playing. It looks like the original free version had been removed from the store, replaced by Aurora Feint II; perhaps this newer iteration works better.
  • Sol Free Solitaire is solitaire, with a few variations. Go play Demon – I’ll see you in a few hours when you realize what time it is.

I’m way late on this news as I was on my yearly hibernation from all things two-wheeled when it happened, but Dorel (aka Pacific Cycle) is now the proud owner of Cannondale. I’m pretty sure I don’t feel so hot about the situation – as in, Cannondale has been permanently excised from my shopping list.

Fun with Autozone (as though that’s possible):

He looks at the phone….picks it up…and says, “Uhh Autzone, may I help you?”
I yell into MY phone, “IT’S ME FUCKER!!!” He jumps and hangs up.

While I’ve never had this exact experience, I did call Best Buy once from within the store when I was waiting to do an in-store pickup.

Broken promises »

I really suck at buying local.

Here in Wausau, the bike shop of choice is Rib Mountain Cycles. They’ve established themselves as having the most knowledgeable staff and some of the best product. I feel like I have a decent rapport with them, which is not something I can say about any of the other shops in town.

And that’s why I felt so guilty when I bought my Bianchi in 2007 – a bike I chose to buy over the interweb even though it was available locally. As is often the case, the bike as it was online was still hundreds of dollars less than RMC’s price, even after shipping and tuning. And being as the Bianchi was a niche bike, and one I didn’t particularly need, my reasoning was this: it wasn’t a tossup between buying the bike online and buying it locally; it was between buying it online or not buying it at all.

As a penance I resolved (again) that my next bike would be a local purchase, and assuming I won the lottery, it would say “Specialized” on it – a brand I’ve always liked sold by a shop I’ve always liked.

Well, I lied. All of the joy that accompanies getting a new bike turns to sheepishness when you walk it through the door of the shop you didn’t buy it from. At least with the LeMond it’s an easy excuse: RMC doesn’t sell the brand; RMC doesn’t sell a cross bike with disc brakes at all, much less one that I could afford. They even complimented it (that still makes me smile, even nearly two weeks later)!

I feel singled out in this experience, but it’s unrealistic to assume that the crew there doesn’t deal with this sort of thing on a daily basis. Cyclists are a finicky bunch, and a single shop can’t reasonably hope to be everything to everyone. So instead, Rib Mountain Cycles finds success in being a bike shop that is fun to go to; one where the staff is so nice and helpful that I want to spend my money there. And considering it’s biking that we’re talking about, there’s always an excuse.

I’m feeling so very… Verizon today. More here.